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THE NEW One PUBLIC LIBY

522513

ASTOR, LENOX AND
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS.
R
1911

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TALES FROM THE ENGLISH ANNUALS

FOR 1835,

THE BEAR OF CARNIOLA.

BY T. K. HERVEY, ESQ.

(From " The Forget Me Not," for 1835.]

The incidents of the following tale, romantic as they may appear, are attested by the chroniclers of the country, and verified by the existing monuments of the times in which they are laid.

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ONE evening, in winter, the Emperor Maximilian was seated at table, surrounded by the principal lords of his court. The night was far advanced, and many a brimming goblet had given birth to many a lively sally. One by one had been toasted the noted beauties of the day, each toast being seasoned with the scandal of the times, and each anecdote heightening the hilarity of the guests. The Empress herself, it was said, had not been spared, so much boldness had the generous wine of Hungary given to the drinkers, and tolerance to the monarch. Carelessly reclining in his chair, lined with embroidered skins, one hand of the prince played with the fair ringlets of a page, who stood by his side, whilst he listened with a smile to the story of a beautiful Baroness of Ebersdorff

. A sudden noise arose at the door of the chamber. The two men-at-arms who guarded the entrance reeled, as if Aung aside by a powerful effort; and a knight of lofty stature, wearing over his hauberk a huge bear-skin, strode boldly up the hall, and paused within three steps of the Emperor.

“Who is this insolent intruder,” cried the enraged monarch," who dares thus to penetrate into my presence, and beat down my guards ? — Does he know before whom he stands?"

“He does,” replied the stranger, bluntly. “You are the Emperor; and if it be my duty to obey your commands as supreme head of the empire, and to serve you in your wars, it is yours to do me justice when I need it. And can I find for my demand a time more fitting than when you are embarrassed by no business, by no cares, and engaged in ne more pressing occupation than that of drinking and taking your pleasure ?"

Maximilian darted around the assembly glances flashing with astonishment and anger. “Will none of you," he cried,“ tell me who is this strange petitioner ; who appears here as if he had fallen from the sky, and speaks as haughtily-God pardon me ! - as if he were an elector of the Holy Empire ? "

An aged knight, who, in spite of copious libations, still retained some presence of mind, at length broke silence. “Sire,” said he,“ if the somewhat savage dress which distinguishes this bold knight did not of itself identify him, his hearing and his language would proclaim him to be the noble Herrmann, Lord of Lueg, commonly called The Bear of Carniola.”

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"I begin to understand,” said the Emperor ; “ the Bear has quitted his forests, allured by the scent of our imperial kitchen. Lord of Lueg, your little castle is far from Vienna; what pressing motive has driven you to this journey? — Is it hunger or cold ? — Or have a few robbers taken your domain by assault, and have you come to apply for some dozen of our men to aid you in reconquering your heritage

?" “In my castle,” replied the indignant Herrmann,“ we suffer neither from hunger nor from cold. If it should please your majesty to honour it with a visit, I take upon myself to feast you and your retinue with fresh meats, green vegetables, and juicy fruits, in that rigorous season when, as I here perceive, your majesty's table is covered only with confectionary and dried fruits. As for an attack on my castle by a few robbers, so far from needing your majesty's aid in such a peril, I should not be afraid to undertake its de fence against your majesty's self, in case you should take it into your head to besiege it with your entire army.”

A long and unanimous burst of laughter replied to this declaration of the knight's. Maximilian himself, in spite of his efforts, was compelled to join in the general nerriment. Herrmann's eyes flashed fire upon the assembly; and when they fell upon the emperor it was evident that respect for his authority alone restrained the utterance of his indignation. The monarch at length perceived that the dignity of his rank was suffering from this scene, and he assumed a tone more befitting himself, as he again addressed the knight.

“High and puissant Lord of Lueg,” he said, “who possess such mighty riches, and a fortress of such strength, what can you have to ask at hands weak as ours ?

“ I have said it, sire – Justice !- justice on one of your vassals, who has deeply wronged me!”

The Emperor frowned. Justice,” he murmured; that eternal word, justice, is ever in all their mouths. One would think, to hear them, that a sovereign once seated on the throne of the Cæsars had no future occupation save that of listening to complaints. Herrmann! could not you, after the practice of so many of your class, do yourself justice ? — and, if not, think you that you have chosen a place and an hour the most fitting to put the wisdom of our judgment to the proof?"

“ The rank of the offender,” gra replied the knight,“ did not permit me to take justice into my own hands, until I had first tried the effect of an appeal to your sovereign decision. As for the time and place which I have chosen, they seem to me fitting, since your majesty can at once hear the parties, and form your opinion, my adversary being now in your presence."

“Here!” cried the Emperor ; “your foe here! - who, then, is he?"

“Behold him!” cried Herrmann, pointing to the noble who sat on the monarch's right hand; “I demand justice against the grand marshal, the Count Pappenheim !”.

“Pappenheim," exclaimed the emperor, “thou hearest! What dealings can there be between the Bear of Carniola and thee? -How hast thou wronged him ? "

The grand marshal according to his custom, was the least sober of the company: He had arrived at that middle stav, between sleeping and waking, in which it is alike fatiguing to hear, to speak, or to think. At his master's question, however, he raised his eyes heavily, gazed stupidly on Herrmann for a moment, then let them fall again, and replied, in a voice broken by hiccough, “I never saw the man in my life - I have no dealings with him."

“More than you think, Count Pappenheim," said Herrmann. be that you know me not; but you have not forgotten the young girl whom

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